18 Aug 2006

Concern over health of King of Wallis

5:42 pm on 18 August 2006

There are concerns about the King of Wallis's condition after he was unable to attend traditional ceremonies this week.

The King of Wallis, 87-year-old Tomasi Kulimoetoke, was to attend a ceremony that involved the offering of kava by local chiefs but he had to be excused.

His speech was delivered by his minister for Youth and Sports, the Hon. Nuko'Fenua.

The King of Wallis, locally referred to as the Lavelua, has been in power since 1959.

In 1961, he signed the deal that made Wallis and Futuna islands part of France as an overseas territory.

Rival clans tried to install a new king last year but armed supporters suppressed the move which had originally been backed by the French government.